Corn Stunt Disease: An Ideal Insect–Microbial–Plant Pathosystem for Comprehensive Studies of Vector-Borne Plant Diseases of Corn
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Over 700 plant diseases identified as vector-borne negatively impact plant health and food security globally. The pest control of vector-borne diseases in agricultural settings is in urgent need of more effective tools. Ongoing research in genetics, molecular biology, physiology, and vector behavior has begun to unravel new insights into the transmission of phytopathogens by their insect vectors. However, the intricate mechanisms involved in phytopathogen transmission for certain pathosystems warrant further investigation. In this review, we propose the corn stunt pathosystem (Zea mays-Spiroplasma kunkelii-Dalbulus maidis) as an ideal model for dissecting the molecular determinants and mechanisms underpinning the persistent transmission of a mollicute by its specialist insect vector to an economically important monocotyledonous crop. Corn stunt is the most important disease of corn in the Americas and the Caribbean, where it causes the severe stunting of corn plants and can result in up to 100% yield loss. A comprehensive study of the corn stunt disease system will pave the way for the discovery of novel molecular targets for genetic pest control targeting either the insect vector or the phytopathogen.
author list (cited authors)
Jones, T., & Medina, R. F.